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Motorbike theft statistics show that springtime is when motorcycle thieves are most active. So now is the time when all motorcyclists should take a good look at how they secure their valuable bikes. In this post we provide some practical recommendations that we know will help in keeping scooters and bikes safe and secure.
It has been reported that the most popular bikes, targeted by thieves, are sports bikes and some of the most common models of motor scooters. The reason is that criminals know how difficult it is to sell stolen motorcycles, due to trackers, HPI checks (hire purchase investigation) and increased public awareness of how to avoid buying stolen bikes. So they focus on vehicles they can break up into parts which they know can be readily sold on the black market.
The Office for National Statistics records around 40,000 motorcycle thefts a year in England and Wales. In fact more motorcycles are stolen, in the UK, than are bought new each year. And it`s worth noting that 80% of stolen bikes are taken from their owners’ homes. These statistics show there`s around a 3.3% chance your bike will be targeted by thieves.
And motorbike theft statistics for London show how this risk increases to an incredible 12.9% in the city, which means around 1 in 8 motorcycles used in London are likely to be targeted by by criminals. This is why motorbike insurance is so expensive for city dwellers and why motorcyclists need to take rigorous security precautions.
As noted, time of year is a factor in the motorbike crime statistics which show how motorcycle theft incidents increase in the spring with a peak in April - which is why now is the time to beef-up your motorbike security.
The most common technique used by experienced motorbike thieves is to lift the targeted bike off the ground and load it into a van. No need to override the ignition and no need to ride the bike away. The technique is quick, quiet and highly effective as the stolen motorbike is immediately hidden from view, alarms are muffled and criminals can overcome security devices without being seen. Even a large sports bike, that might weigh around 200kg, can be easily lifted by four criminals who may use scaffolding pipes under the front forks and rear shock absorbers to hoist the bike into their vehicle in just a few minutes.
Another important security consideration that must be noted is that it is often easier for criminals to break into a motorcycle owner’s home and steal their keys than it is to directly target their motorbike. Criminals are known to follow riders to their homes and once they have the keys they can unlock the bike, disarm any security and simply ride the bike away. This is why it`s important to ensure rigorous home security and to make certain that vehicle keys are always securely locked away.
Although many modern motorbikes are protected with immobilisers and other forms of electronic protection, thieves can readily obtain kits and gadgets to overcome these systems. Regardless of whatever new form of electronic security is in place, thieves use specially designed wiring looms and override circuits that allow them to hot wire and start targeted motorbikes very easily.
Thieves have even been seen to use skateboards, placed under the front wheels of immobilised motorbikes and scooters, allowing them to be pushed away, around a corner, where they can work on overcoming the bike security with less risk of being seen or challenged.
Small, battery-powered tools, such as mini angle grinders, are now commonly used by bike thieves. While these tools are not as powerful as their mains-powered counterparts, they can enable criminals to quickly cut through some lower quality security devices.
Bolt croppers are another tool commonly used by criminals. A pair of 42 inch bolt croppers with tough jaws can cut through security chains with links that are less than 15mm in diameter.
Using freeze spray (liquid nitrogen) is another technique used by experienced bike thieves. Freezing metal locks and chains makes them brittle and therefore vulnerable to shattering when hammered.
Lock picking is also used but takes considerable time and is most commonly used on cheap locks or those which are known to be easy to pick.
It should always be ensured that the highest quality, tested and approved motorbike security products are used. Sold Secure certification is one way to assess the level of protection offered by a product. For example, Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond certification provides a very high level of security and all Sold Secure rated products must undergo recertification every year.
European CEN ratings (alongside British Standards) are another commonly used security product standard, typically used for padlocks, with ratings from 1 (lowest security) to 6 (highest).
Secured by Design (SBD) is another useful resource. It`s the official police security initiative that provides a product based accreditation scheme.
As previously noted - the most commonly used motorbike theft tactic is to quickly lift targeted vehicles into the back of a van and take them away. This immediately highlights the essential need to securely anchor motorbikes and motorscooters to immovable anchor points. And since around 80% of motorbikes are stolen from their owners homes this is clearly where robust anchor points are needed.
A robust ground anchor provides the required anchorage. Importantly, the motorcycle ground anchor should meet the highest possible security approval rating.
Our Big Boy Ground Anchor has achieved the highest possible approval rating and certification: of Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond. Securely attaching a valuable motorbike or scooter to this robust ground anchor will prevent even determined criminals from quickly lifting a valuable bike into the back of their van.
As for all motorbike security products, it`s important to use highly rated and approved motorcycle security chains. Generally, the thicker the chain links the higher the level of security but there are many other aspects of security chain manufacture (such as steel quality, heat treatment and finishing) which have an important bearing on security.
Our uncroppable 16mm and 19mm protector chains which are both Secured by Design Accredited as well as Sold Secure Certified, are excellent examples of high security chains that work with our Big Boy ground anchor.
We also offer high security 22mm protector chains but it must be noted that this dimension is too large for our Big Boy anchor, but we have excellent Sold Secure certified ground anchor alternatives in our store.
High security locks are another essential component in the motorbike security armour. As noted, it should always be ensured that motorbike padlocks, dumbbell locks and d-locks have the highest possible security ratings.
Padlock and chain bundles provide a cost-effective way to ensure you get the highest level of security. For example, our Squire SS100CS padlock combined with our 1.5m 22mm security chain has achieved the highest possible security rating of Sold Secure Motorcycle Diamond.
The closed shackle padlock features a robust 16mm, uncroppable hardened boron steel alloy shackle and includes a protective plastic outer sleeve, designed to prevent the padlock from scratching your bike. The high security motorbike chain is 1.5 metres in length with a chain-link diameter of 22mm. When subjected to rigorous testing by Bennetts / Bike Social, they were unable to crop the chain using 42 inch bolt-croppers and even a mains powered angle grinder didn’t overcome the chain. But it`s worth noting that this level of security means the chain is heavy (17.28kg) making this security bundle unsuitable for portable use.
The Squire Eiger Mini motorcycle disc lock is a Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold rated d-lock that offers excellent, cost effective security. Designed to be fitted through a single brake disk, the tough, 13mm lock shackle withstood an attack using 42 inch bolt-croppers during testing conducted by Bennetts / Bike Social.
The shackle is protected by an octagonal plastic sheath that increases the overall shackle diameter to 15.6mm - which must be considered when assessing suitability for a specific motorcycle.
Our RL21 dumbbell type padlock is another excellent yet highly affordable motorcycle security lock. This Sold Secure Motorcycle Gold certified lock is designed to be used with security chains from 13mm up to 19mm. But it has also gained popularity with motorcyclists as a compact motorcycle disc lock. It must be noted that if the lock is to be used with a 19mm security chain an alternative female section for the lock is needed. And if this dumbbell lock is to be used as a motorbike disc lock it`s important to verify the dimensions of the apertures on the motorcycle brake discs.
Failing to confirm the RL21 dumbbell disc lock dimensions match the brake disc aperture dimensions is one of the most common issues people run into with these excellent locks. So click here to learn more about these locks and their dimensions - and always double-check whether these locks will work with your motorbike.
Applying security markings to as many bike parts as possible makes it more difficult for criminals to sell those parts on the black market and will therefore deter thieves. Security marking can also help the police identify ownership and potentially return bikes or parts to their rightful owners.
As noted, over 80% of motorcycle thefts take place from the owner’s homes and often, thieves will attempt to steal the vehicle keys, making it easy for them to ride the bike away. Experienced motorcycle thieves are known to follow riders to their homes to see how their bikes are secured and discover whether they can steal their keys.
Home security is therefore vitally important. Motorcycle or scooter keys should never be left somewhere they can be seen through a window or maybe through the letter box. And home security precautions should make it difficult for criminals to approach or enter a property without being detected.
An important recommendation for motorbike security is to keep bikes securely locked away so that they can’t be seen. Ideally this might be inside a garage, but if this isn’t possible some form of motorbike cover, shed or shelter might be used to conceal a valuable bike.
If a motorbike or scooter is locked inside a garage it should also be securely attached to an immovable anchor point, such as a ground anchor, inside the structure. This provides further protection against theft so that even if thieves gain access to the garage they still need to overcome the padlock, chain and ground anchor that’s holding the bike in place.
And of course it`s important to ensure the garage or outbuilding in which you are storing your motorbike is as secure as possible. Doors and windows should be securely locked and window security can be strengthened using window bars while door security bars significantly bolster the security of shed doors.
It`s also a good idea to look at your existing perimeter security and consider what else can be done to make your property a less appealing target for criminals. CCTV cameras and security lighting are affordable enhancements that can make a huge difference.
If you have any questions about motorbike security or if you have any special requirements remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll provide you with free, expert advice.
This message was added on Thursday 7th April 2022
Need Help or Advice?
Call the Insight team
01273 475 500